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Potato Diggers

ISSUE:  Summer 1933

The men have marched from one dew to the other With levelled backs and hands like forward feet;
Their thighs have been wide open to the sun,
October has burned them deep into the marrow.
They have run the dark soil through their hands And seen it whiten and resign its mysteries.
They have run their fingers through the earth And felt out fruits which have the feel of flesh And warmth of flesh, and left them heaped behind.
The men are drunk with fragrance of brown earth.
They cannot stand erect, their necks lean over;
Their fingers are turned inwards on their palms As if they still had preciousness to hold.
Their heads are ringing with the hymns of blood.
They feel the pull of earth along their bellies;
Their knees are bent apart, the savory earth Is high up in their bodies as the heart.
These men have walked for one day with the beasts They walked with long ago.
They have been creepers On the ancient nursery floor.
No words Are in them now; they are like infant children Creeping surely home to food and rest,
Like children quiet on the lap of night.


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